Sometimes when I hear “mission,” I think of NASA, the mission to the moon, or the Army and a military mission. A mission is a purpose to fulfill and Jesus told us what that purpose was while He was here and especially right before He left. His mission was accomplished, but the Lord Jesus Christ gave us a mission to continue after He was gone. That mission is wrapped up in what is now called, The Great Commission. The Great Commission is the most basic components of the mission Jesus left us to do. In the most basic way, the mission is to go and preach the gospel to every person on earth. Jesus broke that down a little bit in Acts 1, when He said it was to be witnesses both in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. Two aspects of this is, one, “every creature,” every person on earth, and then, two, “both in” all of the places listed. A church has to think about more than right where it is. This is where supporting missionaries comes into fulfilling the mission Christ gave us.
One word I hate to hear from anyone is “bored,” especially from young people. Very often, when someone says he is bored, it means he’s not being entertained. He doesn’t have enough productive to do in order to stay interested himself on his own. I also hear the word “distraction.” Men look for distraction. What they have isn’t good enough, so they need to be distracted from it in order for them to cope. Because they are bored, they constantly look for distraction. The boredom is the emptiness, the lack of fulfillment. The joy in labor is a gift of God. Men don’t have that joy in their work. They have their work and they have their lives, but they aren’t fulfilled, because God never intended for man to experience true satisfaction without Him. That’s the itch that men can’t scratch. Of course, only through Jesus can men be reconciled to God, the only true solution for boredom.
When you look at the entire universe, the earth is very insignificant. A spacecraft photographed earth from Saturn’s rings and it is a speck of light with the moon as an even smaller speck. You would not judge this planet as being that important. It is most important in the vastness of space, because God created it special. However, your judgment is skewed if you judge by perspective. The relative size of earth is small. No, small things like earth can be greater than large things. As someone once wrote, little is much when God is in it. Summer time magnifies the smallness of our church. People are traveling. You add to that people being sick, and we might have half of who normally assemble. It doesn’t look like it could count for much, nor that it could be right. More people would believe what’s right. But that’s not how we know the truth. We know it by looking at scripture and through the Bible we find true significance.
Jesus said in Matthew 4:4 to Satan that we live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. Every word. Scripture is sufficient and God expects us to live everything in it, even the parts where we must apply principles. We are required to apply the principles. We don’t just throw our hands up in disgust, saying, this is just too hard, I don’t understand. Scripture deals with that excuse and it won’t be acceptable before God. He gave us the instruction to seek for the wisdom like hid treasure (Proverbs 2:4). He said that to rightly divide the Word of truth, we must be a workman, who is laboring (2 Timothy 2:15). A good pastor is said to be one who labors in the word and in doctrine (1 John 5:17). Scripture is accessible to us, as Paul wrote, it is nigh unto us, even in our mouth (Romans 10:8). He’s just saying it’s accessible with the metaphor in your mouth, because nothing is closer to you than something in your mouth. If a bug flies in your mouth, you understand that very well. God wants it all done.
John 2 records the first passover in Jerusalem of Jesus’ after He began His public ministry. Jesus cleanses the temple, His Father’s house, because the religious leaders had made it a house of merchandise, instead of one of prayer. Someone should understand a house of prayer as a place of fellowship with God. However, God’s house had become about men instead of about God, not something to glorify Him. How did Jesus react to that? Anger, righteous indignation. Jesus loved His Father. He loved His Father’s house. It was also His house. Before He came to earth, Jesus had lived in the superior heavenly house of God, which Hebrews reveals. He knew what the real house was really all about, and they, who were supposed to represent God on earth, were corrupting or blaspheming it. His anger related to a holy ardor for His Father, for His house, and for those who would abide in that house with God. The love related to values. What do you value and so love, and what brings out your indignation?
Ultimately everything that is important, what is eternal, the answer even for everything in this age, comes by faith. It must be faith. One, our abilities are flawed, our sight is muddled. We cannot count on us, are not going to see it right. Two, the forensics have been trampled. We do not enter a clean crime scene. Whatever it is we are looking at has been affected by the harmful effects of the curse. We can’t trust our sight nor what we see. We can trust God’s Word, and we can believe by means of the Word of God, because that is a gift of God. When James says we are begotten by the Word of Truth (James 1:18), he ties that into God’s unchangeable nature, the lack of variation of God. God is outside of the box. There is no shadow of turning with Him. He is not effected or affected. That’s why every good and perfect gift comes from above. It can’t originate here. This scene has been spoiled. It has to come from the outside, which is why we have to live by faith.
Several times in the upper room discourse, you might notice that Jesus said something like the imperative in John 14:15, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.” Same chapter, v. 21, then says, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me,” v. 23, “If a man love me, he will keep my words,” v. 24, “He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings,” 15:10, “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love,” 17:6, “thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word,” 1 John 2:3, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments,” and 1 John 3:22, “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.” There are several more like these samples. God wants His Word “kept.” When believers stop believing, practicing, and practicing God’s Word, it falls by the wayside, so it is not kept, and people, families, nations, and the world suffer.
The concept of heart is woven into English culture. This comes from the Bible, because it’s from there that people understand the existence of and importance of the heart. I’m not talking about the pulsating muscle in the middle of the chest, although they relate to one another in a certain fashion. The two words, “the heart,” are used together as such 115 times in the King James Version. The first one is in Exodus 9:7 when “the heart of Pharaoh was hardened.” This certainly wasn’t hardening of the arteries. However, you find that the usage of “the heart” is how we understand what it means. Psalm 19:8 says, “The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart.” “The heart” is man on the inside, which is mainly his mind. Psalm 119:11 says, “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” People memorize scripture in the mind, but it is relates to more than the mind, because when they think about scripture, it can change them, affect their will.
No saved person in the New Testament refuses baptism by immersion. A person is saved and then he is baptized. It is an act of obedience. Jesus told John, Suffer it to be so to fulfill all righteousness. Going unbaptized is unrighteous as a practice, according to Jesus. Paul uses the terminology, baptized into Christ’s death. The preposition translated “into” means identification. Baptism identifies with Jesus Christ, first His death. Someone baptized goes under the water to picture death and burial. Paul also said someone is buried with Christ in baptism. The old person is pictured as gone. A saved person wants people to see that. He is a new person in Christ. Peter says that baptism saves someone from the world. By making a public profession of faith in Christ, someone says he’s not going the way of the world any more, but after Christ. The Apostle Paul also says that the saved person is baptized into the church, associating with the church through baptism as a new convert.
If I had preached a traditional Easter sermon today, I would have preached about the Bible as evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Believing in Jesus Christ is as much or more than anything, believing in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The defeat of death could be described as our salvation. If Jesus defeated death, and can defeat death, then He can save us from death. He did. He can. Can we trust the Bible as evidence? People treat the Bible like it can’t be evidence. Instead, to them that must come from outside of the Bible to be legitimate. However, faith comes by hearing the Word of God, not by hearing external evidence, non-scriptural evidence (Rom 10:17). We should not bow to secular, pagan faithless rejection of scripture as evidence. Even as a matter of history and science, the Bible stands as greater evidence, sufficient evidence for anything. As ancient evidence, there is nothing like the Bible. Everything else shrinks in comparison.